After dipping by a revised 0.4% in July, manufacturing production rose 0.7% to 96.0 in August, the Federal Reserve reported today. Manufacturing capacity utilization increased by 0.4% and is 2.6% higher than in August 2012, but at 76.1%, remains 2.6% lower than its long-term average of 78.7%.
Industrial production as a whole rose 0.4% in August, buoyed by the manufacturing increase and a rise of 0.3% in mining output. Utility production fell 1.5%, the fifth consecutive month of decreases.
Production of consumer goods increased 0.3% in August after taking a 0.5% hit in July. A rebound in automotive products sent the production of durable consumer goods up by 2.5%, matching the decline in July. Production of appliances, furniture and carpeting, and home electronics all rose in August while the output of miscellaneous goods was unchanged.
The index for nondurable consumer goods declined 0.3% in August, the Federal Reserve reported. The bank said the output of non-energy nondurables was unchanged. Gains for foods, tobacco and clothing offset losses for chemical and paper products. The output of consumer energy products moved down 1.5% in August.
The pickup in manufacturing production in August was “welcome news,” said Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers, writing in NAM’s Shopfloor blog. He noted that gains were “fairly broad-based” and the pace of output “appears to be picking up, with year-over-year growth for manufacturers of 2.6%. Overall, manufacturers are seeing a modest acceleration in activity lately, rebounding from slowness in the spring and summer months.”